The new Fifth Avenue store is the same as the old store, only more efficient
Without a new product or a shortage of iPads to draw a crowd, there were no lines outside the big glass cube of the iconic Apple Store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Monday morning.
The traffic in the subterranean retail space was also relatively light, which made it easy to count the changes wrought by the redesign that Apple AAPL, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first Apple Store last week, promised its employees would make the company’s retail outlets “even more iconic.”
Here, by the numbers, is what I saw:
139 plexiglass-mounted iPad 2s serving as electronic spec sheets and price lists for every Apple product on the floor, from tiny $49 iPod shuffles to 27-inch iMacs that start at $1,699
8 desks set aside for one-on-one Personal Setup services and one for Workshop classes
6 display desks equipped with under-mounted cash drawers for quick non-credit card transactions (if these cash drawers were there before, I never saw them)
5 staffers with iPads and more than a dozen with the old card-reading iPod-touches on their belts
10 check-out stations where, for the first time I can recall, there was no queue of customers waiting to pay
The Fifth Avenue store is smaller than some of Apple’s newest emporiums, but bigger than a typical mall outlet. Assuming an average of 100 iPads in each of its 325 stores, we estimate that Apple deployed some 32,500 iPad 2s over the weekend — a number unlikely to make a significant dent in the global supply. Before the explosion that disrupted production at Foxconn’s Chengdu factory Friday, Apple primary supplier was reportedly churning out 2.5 million iPads a month, or 83,000 a day.